Some quick thoughts on free agency, the Orioles, the GM search and the fashionable Mr. Jones
With the World Series over, baseball now turns its attention to free agency, which officially begins Thursday (although the Orioles still have their attention partially turned to their general manager search).
Don’t expect any big names to come off the board on Thursday, however. That’s not how this system works. A few solid players may sign in the next couple days after Thursday and a few others will sign before the winter meetings in early December. But the majority waits until the winter meetings or the two weeks leading up until Christmas.
Officially 148 players filed for free agency this weekend. The Orioles will be linked to about 142 of them before the end of January. And we’ll chase down about 140 of those rumors.
Here are two that the Orioles almost certainly won’t be pursuing: Their own, designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero and shortstop Cesar Izturis. Both Guerrero and Izturis were popular in the clubhouse and proved to be excellent teammates.
But the Orioles don’t want to be handcuffed with a designated hitter only this season – so you can figure Guerrero is gone. Izturis had a lost season in 2011 and really has no spot on this club next year. But if he has no spot in big-league baseball, the Orioles would love to have him back in the organization as a coach/instructor. Buck Showalter, among others, really admired the way Izturis handled himself and dealt with teammates, especially the Latin players.
The power in my house was out for over 24 hours this weekend. Crazy. Not having power in October, I felt like the Philadelphia Phillies (ba dump bump. Tip your waiters).
Speaking of the Phillies, I have been asked to predict the early favorite for the 2012 baseball season. And I am sticking with the Phillies. I understand they may lose several key players such as Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson, and Ryan Howard will start the season on the disabled list. But I look at that starting pitching and still see 90-plus wins. And the postseason is a crapshoot.
One quick mention on the Orioles’ GM search: When Jerry Dipoto decided to join the Los Angeles Angels, I wrote that that probably made Toronto’s Tony LaCava the favorite for the Orioles job.
Remember, I’m just handicapping these things, but I don’t know what the search committee is thinking. I clarify that because the assumption was made that the Orioles lost their No. 1 choice to the Angels, and some fans are hammering them for that.
But Dipoto being the favorite was simply speculation. I’ve been told by people who know a little better than I do, that although Dipoto was highly considered, he wasn’t necessarily the leader in the clubhouse for the job. In fact, I am getting the sense that it’s very possible LaCava – or maybe someone else – would be offered the position even if Dipoto were still available.
So if I led you astray on my speculation – sorry.
Here’s a bit more speculation: Take it for what it is worth, but I would be surprised if this job isn’t filled this week. I’ve learned over the years, however, that I shouldn’t put a timetable on the Orioles. Because I never speculate on that one correctly.
One last item: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is now the brand ambassador for Five Four clothing line. Here is a link to his photo shoot: http://bit.ly/texmP4